Sunday, August 16, 2015

God is Good All the Time, All the Time, God is Good

This post is a bit different from others - on Saturday I learned that Dan Pinkham, a dear friend and mentor of mine, had entered Heaven the night before. God used Dan and his wife Sharon to initially begin my journey to Black Forest Academy. I want to share some thoughts and memories here.

If you are friends or acquaintances of Dan and Sharon Pinkham, you were continually reminded of the words in the title of this post over the last year and a half. It's easy to remind others of this truth when others are struggling; however, it's another thing altogether to speak them from a place of personal hardship. Dan and his family faced a long, uphill battle with an ugly opponent, and one that ultimately took his life. However, I don't want to focus on the last 18 months or so; I want to simply share what this amazing family has meant to me.

I first became acquainted with the Pinkhams through stories of the old days at Csehy Summer School of Music that I heard from my parents. Dan was a camper when my mother was a counselor. Always enjoying a good practical joke, he took great delight in scaring the wits out of my mom when she thought she was practicing her flute in solitude. My mom got over it, though, and the Pinkham's prayer card was frequently brought out in our home through the years, as they embarked on years of missions and service both in the US and abroad. As I became more involved with Csehy, my path became closely involved with Dan and Sharon; He was a member of the board and chapel speaker for many years, and she was his helper-completer. God gifted both Dan and Sharon with wisdom, but their gifts are special because they seemed to bless people equally, whether they were having a one-on-one conversation, or counseling as a couple. I have many memories of long conversations with both of them together during the summers we served together. They exemplified Romans 12:10 - "Outdo one another in showing honor," deferring to each other; it was never a one-up contest. Together they spoke wisdom into my life, and into the lives of so many others. By loving others together, Christ was seen more clearly through them. I can only hope and pray the same for my own life. It's impossible to talk about Dan without talking about Sharon; they were a team, and madly in love. One only had to spend a few moments around them before it was apparent how much he loved her, and vice versa. Perfect? no, but they were the first to admit it, and I pray that I would be so humble.

Another thing that comes to mind when I think of Dan is his infectious laughter. His life was not an easy one; his job didn't put him in the public spotlight or win him fame. But His walk with His Savior became closer with every passing year, and his joy was evident. Dan's laugh was infectious, and was an intrinsic part of any counselor meetings he and Sharon joined. Having to regroup after a joke was a key feature of those times we shared, and I'll miss them dearly!! As I scrolled through old pictures last night, I realized that in most of them, it looks like he's laughing - and it's probably because he was. The beautiful thing, though, is that in making others laugh, Dan was loving on people in his own way, making you feel valued and appreciated. One summer Dan challenged the counselors to introduce themselves with a song, and another year he gave us all pith helmets. Another year we had to make up a poem! Much laughter ensued. Psalm 16:11 says "You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fulness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever more." I truly believe Dan's life was a clear picture of this verse.

There is so much more I could say, and no doubt more be said by others. Dan's counsel and advice meant the world to me, but I know that I am one among many. To anyone who may read this who knew Dan: You know the way that God impacted your life through this servant of Christ; how are you and I impacting others today? Is Christ more visible that you and I are? These have been my reflections since I heard of Dan's passing, and I pray that with every passing day, He would increase, and I would decrease.

Saying goodbye is never easy. But I am so thankful for the chance to have known Dan and been changed by his life.

So, see you later Dan, and hopefully see you sooner than later. I'm a little bit jealous that you're now in the presence of Jesus, and I can't wait to worship Him together there!

Counselor meetings with Dan were never dull! I can still hear the laughter.

Shawn Doremus and Dan

Sharon and Dan - love those smiles!

How he loved those handbells!

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